Woman says man who asked for cigarette attacked, raped her near Bloomington business

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Police are investigating after a woman says a man raped her behind a Bloomington business.

According to the Bloomington Police Department, the 38-year-old woman said she was walking in the 2300 block of West Third Street around 3 a.m. Wednesday when a man approached and asked for a cigarette.

After she handed him a cigarette, she said he punched her in the face and stomach, put her in a choke hold, took her behind a car repair shop and raped her.

He threatened to kill her family, the woman said, before leaving. He also stole her cigarettes and her driver’s license.

“This sexual assault is a rarity,” said Detective Sgt. Dana Cole. “It is an unknown perpetrator. Those don’t happen too often, so it does raise our level of concern.”

According to crisis intervention service coordinators at Middle Way House, roughly 20 percent of sexual assault cases are where the survivor does not know the attacker.

“Sexual violence is never okay whether it’s some one you know or someone on the street – a stranger – and we are trying to create a community that is safe for everyone,” said Stephanie Waller, a crisis intervention service coordinator at the Middle Way House in Bloomington. “That includes sexual violence.”

The Middle Way House not only provides shelter for survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence, and human trafficking, but workers also provide a variety of services to help empower survivors. Last year, the shelter saw 6,000 people stay in a bed for a night. The house’s crisis line also received more than 800 calls with survivors looking for assistance.

The crisis line is available 24-7. Survivors of sexual assault can call 812-336-0846 for help.

The woman described her attacker as a white male in his 20s or 30s with an athletic build and a full beard.

“We’ve heightened extra patrols during the night time hours in that area,” said Cole.

The woman contacted police about four hours after the assault. Police said the investigation is ongoing.

Cole said detectives did complete a sexual assault examination, which could take two months for the results.